I thought I knew a lot about the Appalachian Trail, having hiked its entire length, wrote many articles and a published book about it, helped to build and maintain its shelters and outhouses, and lived right on it, running a hostel for years…until I read Leonard Adkin’s All About the Appalachian Trail, Blue River Press. Just because it is considered a young adult book doesn’t mean it isn’t packed with interesting facts and fascinating information about America’s most beloved trail, and is a great read for any age, including adults.
Adkins divides the book into sections from geology of the range, to trail history, to an overview of each trail section, to advice on what gear to bring for a backpack trip, to a natural history lesson on the critters found along the trail. I learned that grey foxes can climb trees and red ones can’t and that porcupine have up to 35,000 quills on their body. I learned that the AT travels through an Indian reservation in Connecticut, and that the Hudson River is actually a fiord, a narrow inlet with steep sides. And this is only a smattering of fun facts.
I think because it was written with younger folk in mind, its essence is distilled down to sharing what matters the most about the trail. You don’t have to wade through wordy, stuffy scholarly text while trying to learn or become inspired. Atkins makes it easy to fall in love with the Appalachian Trail. And that is most important- inspiring readers, young and old to get out for a hike. PS- Kristen Halvorsen’s dreamy watercolor drawings give All About the Appalachian Trail a magical feel, as magical as the trail itself and add much to the enjoyment of the book.
In conjunction with the book, there is an downloadable Teacher’s Guide with Common Core Standards, sample questions, and activities to stimulate further discussion and knowledge of the trail. It is available from the publisher’s website, brpressbooks.com.”
“Published by Blue River Press (ISBN: 978-1-68157-099-0; $5.99), the book is available through local bookstores, online, and through Adkins’s website, www.habitualhiker.com. A portion of proceeds from each book sale will be donated to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.”
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